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Why is Saturday such a lousy TV night?

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I’m looking at my network TV options tonight, and I see that I could watch Crusoe, NBC’s dull take on a dull literary classic, or two back-to-back episodes of CBS’ Game Show In My Head, a stupid gotcha-reality-show from that genius producer Ashton Kutcher, or a rerun on ABC of The Bachelor. Oh, yeah–followed on ABC by a rerun of True Beauty, another reality show so stupid, the drool practically drips out of your TV screen. I know: I could watch football on Fox, but I’m just not a football fan.

All of which made me think: Remember when Saturday night TV was great? Remember when you could watch All In The Family or The Mary Tyler Moore Show or The Bob Newhart Show, or in later years, Sisters or Walker, Texas Ranger or The Commish?

Even family-friendly stuff like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, or silly stuff like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island was better than the mix of reruns and non-scripted crap that now turns Saturday nights into a gravesite. I know there were economic reasons for the neworks to do this–not as many young people staying at home watching TV, so advertisers pulled away from the networks, which in turn left us high and dry.

But do you remember when Saturday night tv was good, was a great time to say, “Y’know, I think I’ll grab some popcorn and sit on the couch all evening?” What shows do you think worked best on Saturday night?

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